Hobbit – Tuesday Trees

It’s hard to scratch the surface on the ferny forest of tree titles available to young readers that celebrate that most woody of Hobbit-land evoking entities.


But, as someone who leafed through her chapter book pages in a dogwood tree during aboreal child days, I’ve liked planting this list.  Climb a favorite branch, if you’re in a temperate climate, & take a peek.

NUTS TO YOU text & art by Lois Ehlert

THE BUSY TREE text by Jennifer Ward, artwork by Lisa Falkenstern

CHERRY TREE text by Ruskin Bond & artwork from Allan Eitzen

PLANTING THE TREES OF KENYA – text & artwork by Claire A. Nivola

POETREES poems & artwork by Douglas Florian

THE GREAT KAPOK TREE text & artwork by Lynne Cherry

THE CURIOUS GARDEN text & artwork by Peter Brown

THE MONEY TREE text by Sarah Stewart & artwork by David Small

STUCK text & artwork by Oliver Jeffers

TREE-RING CIRCUS, text & artwork by Adam Rex

WE PLANTED a TREE text by Diane Muldrow & artwork by Bob Staake

WELCOME TO THE GREEN HOUSE text by Jane Yolen & artwork by Laura Reagan

CELEBRITREES text & by Margi Preus & artwork by Rebecca Gibbon

THIS IS THE TREE text by Miriam Moss & artwork by Adrienne Kennaway

THE OAK INSIDE THE ACORN text by Max Lucado & artwork by George Angelini

THE KISSING HAND text by Audrey Penn & artwork by Ruth Harper/Nancy Leak (because of where Chester ends up….)

LINNEA IN MONET’S GARDEN – text by Christina Bjork, artwork by Lena Anderson

thumbnail.aspx            The Giving Tree (Shel Silverstein) & The Lorax (Dr. Seuss) are two famous books for young readers about trees.

After experiencing the good fortune of spending time under and around the ethereal Lichgate Oak at this event, I visited trees in lesser-known books where trees are central to the story, or are characters, for young readers.

Some picture books listed are favorites I returned to & others are new to me & perhaps to you. I hope you’ve enjoyed this no -particular -order offering.

Imaginary acorns to those who add a title/comment.

This article is part of Bookseedstudio’s Tuesday Trees, where Jan roots for the proliferation and longevity of our saplings and also for their mature elders, even if they aren’t alders. It is inspired by our community-wide project to celebrate arbors.  

For more on the lovely fishing net tree at the top of this column, please see this previous Bookseedstudio column.

notes – Mother’s Day Weekend 2012

A very good ‘bye & two hellos

Anne Rudloe/Butterflies On A Sea Wind

Suitably for a memorial,  clouds opened up Sunday May 13 in time for umbrellas to pop like mushrooms, among congregants arriving at church to reflect upon the life of author & scientist Anne Rudloe.  Because she was a Buddhist teacher I wondered if we would find jewel- tone prayer flags & sandalwood incense & perhaps the sound of a delicate small gong?  Instead, lovely hymns & also some Gershwin & The Sound of Music. Many smiles & tears. Loving tributes to her life, where she enriched so many. Departure was in pure sunshine, drops dancing off tree leaves, shimmery glints along the path home. Good wishes to Family &  Gulf Marine Specimen folks.

FAITH RINGGOLD. She stood up the whole hour she spoke. She is 81.

&  FAITH RINGGOLD/c. Jan Godown Annino

After decades of world-wide accolades, she still had to outfox an oily art dealer who intended to keep her Clinton family portrait rather than pass it on as intended. With her husband Birdie helping, she put it directly into grateful hands at the White House. Her sparkling mural mosaics are lesser known than the totemic story quilts that are catalysts for children’s books.

She read from her witty new bullying poetry.  Public school kids in NYC knew her as their art teacher, before she quit to spend time with her other talents. California college students call her professor.Thanks, FSU Fine Arts folks.

ANDREA DAVIS PINKNEY. Wow. Never imagined two years ago when I presented at the library on SIT IN, a Brian Pinkney-illustrated history for young readers of Greensboro, N.C. desegregation by brave students, that the author would be presenting on it herself.

The interactive event that covered many children’s literature titles, found us stretching our credulity to see if we thought our cat lounging at home could talk & narrate a story & also asking ourselves how we would respond to hot coffee & catsup being poured on our heads. A lively & deep talk, all the more special because of the all-ages audience.

Pinkney sets her alarm for 4 a.m. She writes every day.  Thanks, LeRoy Collins Leon County Public Library folks.

Andrea Davis Pinkney & Brian Pinkney

Happy cookie – Happy Wally & Christine

Happy cookie – Happy Wally & Christine

Who can turn the world on with a smile?

If you relate to Mary of TVland, the answer is: Mary Tyler Moore.

If  you are from Tallahassee where I live, if you have poked around events in support of literacy, or if you just plain love cookies, the answer is: Wally Amos.

Mr. Amos, Famous Amos, The Face That Launched a Thousand Chips, husband, father, creator of the best chocolate chip cookie since Mrs. Fields’ Toll House original, is the owner of an impish grin, a wide smile, a genuine glad hand.

His sunny disposition arrives in prime slices, irresistible chunks &  tasty chips in  books on my shelves: The Famous Amos Story,  The Power in You, Watermelon Magic, & Chip & Cookie. Others, I’ve given away.

“Happy cookie,”  offers the autograph from Wally Amos in our copy of Chip & Cookie .

I crave his happy cookie recipe.

My husband has a torn lisfranc ligament in his right foot. He can’t put weight on that foot, which has a small fracture. He developed 3 blood clots after being immobile due to the injury, from a freak tumble in the back yard. Two clots are lodged in his lungs.

He was hospitalized through the ER for four days & now with daily visits from angel nurses & physical therapists, he is able to revive at home, where his nimble Dad & caring brother came from Rhode Island &  Florida’s east coast, to builtd him a ramp so he can flow through the French doors of our bedroom onto the patio. That is, if  the clouds disperse, the air wafts warm & he feels up to it. The days are sometimes too cool & also rainy. This terrain in North Florida is more southwest Georgia than South Beach.

His appetite improves!  I tempted him with lamb stew from Ray’s Steele City yesterday on St. Patrick’s Day. He liked it lots. Eventually during this half- year on wafarin (anti-platelet clotting medicine) he’ll be back to his normal second and third helpings of spaghetti & meatballs. Now, he doesn’t want to even look at that,  or lasagna. He wants soups.  And he wasn’t overweight to begin with.

We hope next semester he will get back into to the law clinic on public service issues for children, which he co-directs at Florida State University. But my husband, Paolo Annino, is staying as sunny as he can. And this is without his reading the seeds of wisdom & slices of life that Wally Amos offers.

I, on the other hand, I need Wally wisdom. I collect my Wallys from the bookshelves, open a bag of sugar, fat & flour (confession – they aren’t his Chip & Cookie brand, which I don’t find in local stores). I dig in.

I met Wally & Christine, his wife of great talent & calm presence, ages back in Tallahassee, the place he spent a lot of his childhood, when I wrote about Mr. Amos’ returning to town to promote a literacy event. Every clump of years, maybe two, then a gap of many, I dip back into their sunny world, buy another book & see how I can re-apply the Amos awesomeness to my psyche.

I’m glad Christine & Wally Amos are spinning stories, drawing pictures – and, selling Uncle Wally’s muffins & Chip & Cookie brand cookies. I hope I see their smiling faces in Tallahassee, yet again. With my husband, out & about.